Renting a car should be easy, but it can often turn into a real chore. Finding out the rental agency has already rented out your preferred size of a vehicle, dealing with terrible drivers as you try not to damage the rental car, and other issues can make the rental process not your favorite activity. You can make it a lot easier, however, by arranging for certain things and taking care of a couple of tasks before you drive off.
Yes, Get the Collision Damage Waiver
This won't be the most popular piece of advice, but yes, sign up for that collision damage waiver. When you rent the car, the rental agency will ask you if you want to purchase optional insurance coverage. Given that your own car insurance covers the same things, the advice is usually to refuse the optional insurance. That's assuming you have car insurance; if you don't, then you obviously have to get all the coverage the agency offers.
But the collision damage waiver is something you should take a second look at. This covers damage to the car, meaning you won't have to pay to fix the damage that occurs while the car is in your possession. If someone hits the rental car in a parking lot and takes off without leaving a note, you get to pay the rental car agency for the damage. You'd be reimbursed by your insurance, but that's still money out of your pocket. You'd also have a deductible if you used your own insurance. You don't need that trouble. The collision damage waiver takes care of all that for you.
Try out the Dashboard Controls Before You Leave the Rental Agency Property
If you're renting a car model that has features you've never used before, try them out before leaving the rental agency. This gives you a chance to ask the clerks for help. Even if it's something like using a very strange radio on a model you're not familiar with, the clerks can explain how to use everything so that you're not fumbling, or trying to find a control while driving. This is necessary if you're renting a newer car after years of driving a much older model as the technology and onboard options have changed considerably.
If You Can, Pick up the Car Early
When you arrange for the rental, you'll arrange for a pickup time. Make this as early as possible so you'll have a better selection of cars. The agency may have only a couple of models for each size, but waiting to rent until later in the day means that more of the cheaper models will be gone, and your preferred model may be completely rented out, too. Car rental often carries that risk, but renting earlier in the day mitigates that somewhat.
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